It’s been an especially active start to the Atlantic hurricane season, as parts of North and South Carolina are currently bracing for impact from a major Category 3 Storm. Hurricane Florence is currently barreling toward the East Coast and is forecast to bring, “life-threatening storm surge and rainfall… across portions of the Carolinas,” according to NOAA’s National Hurricane Center. And although the storm’s wind speeds have decreased slightly, says NOAA, the size of the wind field has increased, putting more people at risk.
#HurricaneFlorence is very large and incredibly dangerous.
✅Follow local evacuation orders!
✅Prepare for life-threatening, catastrophic flooding over portions of the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states late this week into early next week. pic.twitter.com/IWlJYKOZBS
— NWS (@NWS) September 12, 2018
Tropical storm conditions are expected for areas of the Carolinas on Thursday with hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) projected for “late Thursday or Friday.”
According to perennial Outer Banks tube hunter, Brett Barley, tensions on the ground are high.
“Boarding windows now, which feels funny since the storm is projected to head south of us,” said Barley in an Instagram message. “But, if things change it’ll be too late to do it tomorrow in the wind and rain.”
“Hoping I do all this prep work for nothing,” he continued. “Best case scenario.”
The message from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to residents was bleak. “Disaster is at the doorstep and is coming in,” he said in a tweet. “If you are on the coast, there is still time to get out safely. If you are not under an evacuation order, finish your preparations today.”
.@NC_Governor Cooper: NC my message is clear: Disaster is at the doorstep and is coming in. If you are on the coast, there is still time to get out safely. If you are not under an evacuation order, finish your preparations today. #ncwx #florence #HurricaneFlorence
— NC Emergency Managem (@NCEmergency) September 12, 2018
Parts of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina have issued mandatory evacuation orders, and governors of all three states as well as Maryland have declared states of emergency in the run-up to Florence making landfall.
One of the biggest concerns around the storm is its slow rate of speed – just before 2 p.m. ET, Florence was located about 435 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina moving at just 16 m.p.h.
It’s the slow movement that could result in what the National Weather Service for Newport and Morehead City, North Carolina called possible “historical rainfall amounts” with “UNPRECEDENTED flooding.”
Like many an East Coast surfer, Barley’s been through this before and understands the unpredictability of storms like Florence. And while he hopes for the best, he’s chosen to wait out the storm at home so he can be around to help his community if need be once the storm passes.
“Someone’s gonna get screwed on this,” he said. “Just a matter of who.”